That now traditional insult “You couldn’t find your ass* (*English translation arse) with two hands and a map!” might well be true for some, but if you do actually have a good map there is no real excuse not to find it. For those that like to go rambling, fell walking, or just want to mince along in the countryside, an accurate map is generally regarded as a key item for a successful and safe journey. Well, along with a compass, torch and some vittles as well. In the UK, accurate and detailed maps are helpfully provided (for a price) by the Ordnance Survey (OS) agency, as it has been doing for 225 years.
The OS maps note not just key geographic features but also places of interest and landmarks for navigation. For example, churches with spires are shown by a round black dot with a cross on top, although political correctness has now caused this to be for “places of worship with a spire, minaret or dome”.
Surely since this renaming, a symbol other than a cross would have been more accurate, albeit that an arrow might have looked like a direction. In the same vein, perhaps the bent spire of St Mary’s and All Saints Church in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, should have been marked with a similarly twisted symbol?
Having said all that, there may not be that many spires on the latest map produced by the OS agency. Using NASA data, the OS has created a new map of the planet Mars on a scale of 1 to 4 million. Well, actually, there is one spire, a rock one – see here: http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/mer/rock-spire-in-spirit-of-st-louis-crater-on-mars
David Henderson, OS Director of Products, apparently sees a growing market for the map of the red planet: “The private sector and space agencies are currently in competition to land the first person on Mars,” he said, before adding “the opportunity to apply our innovative cartography and mapping tradecraft to a different planet was something we could not resist.”
The new map is available in both paper and digital versions, with the latter presumably for tablet-carrying Martians given that humans are at least 20 years away from getting to the planet. The OS agency, which promises “500 million unique geographical features” for maps of the United Kingdom, does not say how many there are on the Martian one. It does, at least, plan to use a symbol to mark the positions of various Mars landing and rover craft (including a suggested symbol for the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity as shown).
There is no news yet about whether the old PH symbols (for Public House) are on the map (in case you get thirsty on that dry planet), but the OS agency is holding a competition with the The Times news organisation for new landing and other location symbols that might be included. Details of how to enter are here: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/about/media-centre/mars-map.html
At this point your correspondent finds himself wanting to suggest a couple of map symbols (below) to mark the landing sites of such types as David Cameron/Jeremy Corbyn/Jeremy Clarkson/Ken Livingstone/Donald Trump (delete as appropriate). That is, if ever they get to the red planet, probably courtesy of a clever one: SpaceX guru Elon Musk and his Mars colonisation plan. Here’s hoping he is successful.
Mind you, examples of such arse symbols might be equally applicable to Earth as there will still be plenty left in this world.
Whatever planet you are on, at least with these new symbols you should easily be able to find some arse, whether you have two hands free or not.